The "Better Times" Project

Janis Ian & Friends

Mimako Soga (Japanese Sign Language)

Better Times Will Come by Janis Ian Performed by Mimako Soga
  1. Better Times Will Come (Japanese) Mimako 4:19


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Watch the video.

Play this on the jukebox and listen to a lot of other versions too.
You can also download all the different musical versions, in the order they went up.

Check Mimako’s YouTube channel and this article on Kumamoto for more info.
Check the Deaf Performance Group in Japan’s YouTube channel and the Deaf Japan TV YouTube channel for more information.

Sign interpreter & vocalist: Mimako Soga
Piano: Mikiko Miyake
Violin: Fumi Murakami
Produced by Takahiro Maeda

From Janis: Adding to our collection of different languages, here is Japanese sign interpreter and vocalist Mimako Soga, accompanied by Mikiko Miyake on piano and Fumi Murakami on violin. Coming from Aso Kumamoto, one of the most beautiful parts of Japan, Ms. Soga says “I would like to preserve and deliver the songs of Japan’s precious heart”. It’s an honor to have her here, because she normally spends her time performing “Doyo” (Japanese traditional nursery rhymes) like “”Four Seasons of Japan Spelled in Nursery Rhymes” to a worldwide audience on major stations like NHK Premium Television.

Nihongo no syuwa [ 日本の手話 ], or Japanese sign language, is commonly referred to as “JSL”. To know the history becomes difficult for many reasons, among them the geography of Japan, the isolation and then attempted Westernization, and the culture itself. As with most sign languages, JSL is also subject to regional interpretation! I know from living all over the United States that local accents can vary widely, from the tempo of the speech itself to different ways of describing the same thing. (For instance, what’s called “barbecue” in the North is not “barbecue” in the South, and certainly not in Texas….) You can learn more about it at the DeafJan website.

Special thanks to Fukuko Maeda, an interpreter herself and (fortunately for me) the wife of Japan executive producer Takahiro Maeda. Because of her, we were able to enlist the help of Mimako-san and her friends for this very special part of the Better Times Project.

(Janis Ian)

Better times, better times will come.
Better times, better times will come.
When this world learns to live as one,
oh, better times will come

When we greet each dawn without fear
knowing loved ones soon will be near
When the winds of war
cannot blow any more
Oh, better times will come


Though we live each day as our last
we know someday soon it will pass
We will dance, we will sing
in that never-ending spring
Oh, better times will come